Time is the most valuable currency we have on this earth. And yet, I find myself focused on rushing through it.
“How quickly can I get this done?” I think while I’m at work.
“How fast can I recover?” I think when I’m sitting in physical therapy nursing some tendonitis.
“How many waves can I catch before I have to get out of the water?” I find myself contemplating as I sit on my surfboard during a short dawn patrol session.
If time was money, these wouldn’t be the best thoughts to have. It would be like someone handing me $1,000,000 only for me to turn around and blow through it as quickly as possible.
I know I’m not alone in this.
Market tactics use urgency to sell. Product launches are focused on speed to market. And let’s not even look at the entire personal development world with biohacking, shortcuts, and quantum leaps bread through every conversation. We are being primed to push through growth, and life, as quickly as possible. Everything is about speed.
We are squeezing time harder than a lemon in a juice machine. And I believe, it’s taking away the bulk of the value. All that voluptuous pulp is dropped to the bottom of the bin, never to be enjoyed.
Juice analogies aside, I started to wonder what would happen if we looked at time the opposite way. What if, every single moment was something to value, and never take a shortcut through? What if, instead of seeing how quickly we could complete a task, we tried to move as slowly as possible?
I’ve tried this in a few aspects of life: writing, yoga, and eating. And here is what I’ve found.
Mistakes occur less.
When I write, I tend to jam through purging content like a broken faucet. I get all the ideas out on paper without stopping. It often doesn’t flow right and needs some major editing. Writing is rewriting after all…right?
Wrong. I’ve found that when I slow down the process I am able to compile deeper insights, share a juicier and complete story and do so with fewer errors and grammar issues. Oddly enough, by slowing down, I’ve been speeding up the process.
Lessons are tenfold.
When you move slowly, you see more, feel more, and experience an array of sensations that you would otherwise cruise past. I recently went to a yoga class and focused on moving from one posture (asana) to the next as slowly as possible. I noticed where my body was off-balance, where I was overcompensating for a weak muscle, and what thoughts were popping up along the way.
When we rush, we miss out. I invite you to pick an activity, be it yoga, cooking, cleaning, sex, and slow things way down. Take notice of what you finding that you’ve never found before. Perhaps you are really strong on your left side body, maybe you recognize that the inside of a carrot looks like a tree, or you discover your kitchen sink is dirtier than you would like to admit and that you love having your neck kissed. These are all lessons, and beautiful ones at that.
Slow down and make time for clarity. When your mind isn’t working overdrive, it’s available to absorb information, assess the circumstances, and make an informed decision. After all, you can’t see what direction you’re going if you’re too busy running around with your head down. You’ll miss out on all the lessons and opportunities cheering for you if all you see is the finish line.
Experiences are more satiating.
I am currently on an ayurvedic vata cleanse. I’ve never done one before and while this one is quite different than your classic juice cleanses, one of the aspects of the cleanse itself is to sit and eat your limited meals while doing nothing else. Normally I would turn on a YouTube video or watch an episode of SexLife on Netflix (so good) while I ate.
But by being fully present with my food, I tasted the sweetness of the yam, the tartness of the lemon, and the pleasing mouthfeel of the lentils. Not only that but, I was shocked to find how full I became from such a simple meal.
Speed leads to mindless motions. We set ourselves on autopilot and blast through experiences in life. Instead, slow down and enjoy the nectar of life unfolding right beneath your nose.
While on this cleanse, I recognized that you can’t hustle if you are dead. If you don’t take time to prioritize what your mind, body and soul needs…you’ll be in the ground before your dinner’s root veggie has time to sprout. Pause and listen to what your mind is saying, how your body feels, and what your soul needs most.
The next time you are trying to rush through life. Slow down. Take a moment and ask yourself, “If I do this as slowly as possible, what could I gain?” You will likely be surprised at what you discover.
To all the tortures out there silently winning races. Cheers!
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This article first appeared in Medium.